ALIVE Newsletter No.106
— By Yasuhiro Seino (Representative and Co-Director of ALIVE)
I am sure you have all heard of iPS cell technology. Some people understand that this technology is applied in cultivating tissues using human cells and utilizing the developed tissues for experiments. Accordingly, we tend to believe that this technology will mitigate the need for and potentially eliminate animal testing. But is this really true?
Recent media coverage of iPS cell research has mostly reported on how much progress is being made in animal testing undertaken in preparation for clinical research using humans, and on the scale of the investments and efforts that have been made by experimental animal production companies in order to produce more experimental animals that will be used for preparatory testing purposes, as these companies are expecting significant budget allocations to be devoted to iPS research. In this context, Riken has just become the first organization in the world to apply to undertake clinical iPS research. And in fact, this research will make use of countless animal experiments. Unfortunately we are hearing nothing at all at present about research aimed at reducing or introducing alternatives to animal testing.
iPS cell technology stems from biomechanics, and it is fraught with bioethics problems and with the problems with animal experiments that are performed in the name of “proving safety.”
Today I am writing about iPS cell technology in particular, but researchers working in all areas where animals are involved owe it to the general public to provide a clear explanation concerning the utility of their experiments. Unfortunately, researchers who are prepared to do this are rare these days, which is why the general public needs to take initiative in investigating animal experimentation.
ALIVE will take an approach differing from that of other animal rights/welfare organizations and will continue consulting with outside experts in order to make corrections based on academic knowledge and investigation to the mistakes made by scientists.